Jacqueline Elaine WIHONGI - 30/01/2019
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Jacqueline Elaine WIHONGI
Hearing: 30 January 2019
at Auckland Regional Women’s Corrections Facility
via Video Conference to Arohata Prison
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
- Mr A Hackney
- Ms G Hughes
- Ms S Earl
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Jacqueline Elaine Wihongi is serving a sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment for the murder of her partner. She was released on parole on 29 May 2017 but was the subject of a final recall order on 4 July 2018. Her statutory release date is 23 June 2022.
- We are seeing Ms Wihongi today for the first consideration of her release on parole after her recall. Se had entered into a relationship without advising her probation officer and had failed to attend a number of appointments with a psychiatrist.
- Since she was recalled to prison, Ms Wihongi has been working in the distribution centre. She is a minimum security offender. She is not on any medication and there has been no need to engage with the Prison forensic service. She has, however, engaged in trauma counselling with the prison-based counsellor. A report from [withheld] was available today. Ms Wihongi appreciated the work she had been doing.
- Ms Wihongi was represented by Ms Earl, on instructions from Ms Fyfe. [withheld].
- Ms Earl invited the Board to either direct Ms Wihongi’s release to [withheld] today or to bring her back for a further hearing in April with a view to Ms Wihongi being released to [withheld]. Ms Earl noted the recommendations made in the psychological assessment of 19 November 2018 but submitted that the matters could be dealt with in the community, alongside the release plan which involved a release to [withheld]. She referred to the reintegration meeting conducted on 29 January last, the minutes of which she forwarded to the Board.
- Ms Wihongi acknowledged not being open and honest with her probation officer with respect to the relationship she had engaged in. She told us that was due as much to embarrassment as well as anything else as she had a good relationship with her probation officer. Nor was her failure to keep appointments with the psychiatrist anything more than due to her forgetfulness.
- It was apparent to the Board, however, that the broader circumstances of her release to the family environment were not necessarily conducive to a long-term and safe release on parole. Ms Wihongi freely acknowledged that she was struggling in that environment.
- The Board is of the view that Ms Wihongi’s current release proposal is generally a sound one. We are of the view, however, that there is work to be done before the Board could consider that her release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community. In that regard, we refer to the need to further work with the psychologist, recommended in [withheld] report of 19 November 2018. There are also other matters raised in that report that require further work. In essence, we see a longer term plan being worked on by Ms Wihongi and hopefully [withheld], after she has completed the work with the psychologist.
- Parole today is declined. Ms Wihongi will be scheduled to return to the Board in six months, by 30 July 2019. We support an early referral to the psychologist for the work identified and invite her case manager to work with Ms Wihongi and [withheld] to progress a solid and stable, long-term plan.
- We also invite her case manager to convene a further reintegration meeting prior to her return to the Board in July so that the results of the work identified are crystallised.
Mr N Trendle